Maps/Atlas are a huge disappointment

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This post has 25 Replies | 5 Followers

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 31 2014 1:43 PM

There is so much to like about Logos 6. But, I continue to be shocked at how lame the maps and "the new atlas feature" are in Logos. The atlas is clumsy to work with and unbelievably slow. My hard drive grinds away as it continually pulls down all of the "terabytes" of data, that I am supposed to be impressed by, as I try to scroll around and zoom in/out. And the biggest disappointment is I am still not able to get a decent/usable exported version of a map to create slides for my teachings.

You guys really need to take a lesson from Accordance on this feature. Their atlas/map feature makes yours look like a very bad joke. I still use the Accordance Atlas from 10 years ago, running under an old MacOS emulator on my WindowsOS machine to create decent maps--because Logos still doesn't provide a decent map/atlas feature.

Given all of the talented people on your staff at Logos, it is ridiculous that you still have such a nearly useless map system.

Ideally, I want to be able to have a map that I can specify which cities/town/objects are on it, and then export it as an object-oriented graphic (i.e., SVG format or similar) that I can then import into a graphics program (like Illustrator) and add my own notations etc., so I can then product a nice map. Instead your export feature gives me an over-populated low-res bitmap graphic that is virtually useless.

Sorry for the rant, but my frustration boiled over today as I try to get something useful out of this monstrosity.

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 1:45 PM

I seem to recall a thread floating around here that they are working on the issues you are discussing here.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 1697
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 1:48 PM

I'm sorry you're disappointed with the Atlas.

We missed our deadline to have all the content ready, but our team is continuing to work on it, and new maps -- both zoomable and static, ready for presentation -- should be arriving every week for the next couple months.

We didn't intend to build a custom map creator, so we won't support designing and exporting your own vector based maps any time soon, but more maps, custom, hand-made presentation style equivalents, and sharper data will be arriving very soon.

Posts 13386
Forum MVP
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 1:56 PM

The Logos 4/5 Biblical Places maps are still available in Logos 6. Most of them export pretty well (in bitmap). You might also be interested in http://biblemapper.com/.

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 2:04 PM

That would be great, but I have my doubts. I have been waiting for years for Logos to create a useful map/atlas module. What they are probably going to address is the "slowness," which is the least of the issues. What I really want to see are some genuinely useful features for me to use it as a teaching tool, like:

-Ability to add and remove towns/cities/objects/regions/labels/etc to/from the map.

-Ability to measure a plotted distance, of my choosing, on the map, rather than the nearly useless radius/straight line from one place to another thing that they provide. No one walked/traveled in a straight line like that.  :-/

-Ability to export a hi-res background map that I can add to with my own graphics software, with ALL objects like text labels as objects so I can edit and reformat them to my liking. Instead, I am given low-res exported bitmap that is basically the same kind of thing I would get from a photocopy of an encyclopedia page, complete with all of the distracting useless information, like dozens of towns and call-outs that have no relevance to what I would be using the map for in a teaching.

:-/

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 2:09 PM

I'm familiar with Biblemapper. Sorry. That is some ugly looking stuff. Not nearly good enough. The best thing I have come across for doing what I am looking for is the atlas feature in Accordance.

And, I have been using Logos since V3, so I am familiar with the maps from V4 and 5. "These are not the droids I'm looking for."

Thanks.

Posts 8148
LogosEmployee

pistos:
What I really want to see are some genuinely useful features for me to use it as a teaching tool, like:

It sounds like you're looking for a fairly high-end, sophisticated map creation/editing tool.

This is not the design goal of the new Atlas feature in Logos 6, which is to present pre-created maps in a zoomable "Google maps"-style view, with rich hyperlinks to Logos 6 Factbook data. If you're looking for map editing, it will be a "huge disappointment" (because it was never intended to be that).

It's possible that as we add more maps to the system (along with "Visual Copy" versions ready for presentation), you'll be able to find existing maps that meet your teaching needs, rather than needing to create your own.

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 2:47 PM

I didn't realize that what I was looking for was so "high-end," since all of these features were present in the Accordance Atlas almost 15 years ago, a little $40 add-on module.

I continue to hope. 

Posts 397
T Gerold Castle | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 5:27 PM

OP, might I suggest that you simply use Accordance for this? You sound awfully bitter by the way.

In HIS Eternal Service,
Tom Castle
**If we will do God's work, in God's way, at God's time, with God's power, we shall have God's blessings!!**

Posts 1697
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 6:22 PM

pistos:
-Ability to add and remove towns/cities/objects/regions/labels/etc to/from the map.

We used to sell a product (back in the 1990's!) that did this, but we found that very few people actually edited their own maps. Most just wanted pre-built maps.

When the Atlas is complete, it will feature hundreds of pre-built maps designed for many different teaching scenarios, with coverage for every mappable narrative episode in the Bible.

We also intend to offer even more styles, one of which will be a more minimalist background that you can use as the basis for editing in art programs.

If there's a lot of interest in customizing the maps we can re-visit that, but for now if that's your primary need, our Atlas isn't going to be the best solution.

pistos:
-Ability to measure a plotted distance

Hold the Control key and click and drag in a map and it will measure the plotted distance while drawing a circle of that radius.

Posts 5270
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 6:32 PM

Well I am amazed that Logos atlas is over a terabyte. 

-Dan

Posts 782
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 7:18 PM

Dan Francis:

Well I am amazed that Logos atlas is over a terabyte. 

-Dan

That's one of the characteristics of zoomable maps: every time you zoom in one more level, you're swapping one tile for 4 more detailed tiles. On a map with 5 zoom levels, that means each tile needs 1024 more tiles to replace it at the highest zoom level, and a story map might have 9, 16 or more tiles at the initial level. That doesn't mean you actually download a terabyte of data: each time you zoom in, you're narrowing the focus of the map, and you only download the tiles you need for display. But if you were to download the entire map in its full extent with all the tiles (e.g. for offline use), that requires gigabytes or more of data per map.

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 7:19 PM

Thank you for the reply, Bob. (I remember that ability in the early versions of Logos too, and have always really missed it. Kept thinking you were going to add it back in eventually, but that day has never come. LOL)

The minimalist background sounds like a good possibility. I would prefer it to be without any labels/towns etc. of any kind. Then I could use it as a background to add stuff to it. It would be nice to have the software plot points on it, but... ;-)

Regarding measurement, I am familiar with the control key radial measure. The problem with that is it is a straight line from one point to another, which does not give an accurate "travel distance." A great option would be to let me plot points and have the distance accumulate along that plotted path. Google maps will let you do this, and happens to be the work around that I use. But, it would be nice to have that ability in Logos.

While on the topic, is there a way to get a elevation reading for a particular point on the map?

Thanks again.

Posts 782
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 7:23 PM

pistos:

While on the topic, is there a way to get a elevation reading for a particular point on the map?

We have a full Digital Elevation Model that we use for creating the background terrain: that produces the hill shading, for example. So we have elevation data, but we're not currently exposing that information in the Atlas interface. We might be able to include that capability in a future version if there were sufficient interest.

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 7:43 PM

"If there is sufficient interest"? Of course there is sufficient interest. I want it all!  :-)

That is part of what I find a little frustrating about the Atlas at the moment... I know all of this great data is there, but I have no way to get to it, or export it in a usable way.

Posts 53
Jeff Miles | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 7:56 PM

Here is an example just from work I was doing today, where I would have liked to have been able to put what I wanted on a map, plot travel paths, rather than straight line distances between two points, get elevation data, and export map overlays:

I wanted to: 1) Compare OT Jericho and NT Jericho locations; 2) Figure the travel time from Jericho to Jerusalem; 3) Figure the elevation difference between Jericho and Jerusalem; and 4) Generate a set of maps to show/illustrate all of this. I got it all done with work-arounds. But it would have been great to be able to simply utilize the Atlas for all of that.

:-)

Posts 436
Adam Olean | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 31 2014 11:01 PM

Sean Boisen:

pistos:

While on the topic, is there a way to get a elevation reading for a particular point on the map?

We have a full Digital Elevation Model that we use for creating the background terrain: that produces the hill shading, for example. So we have elevation data, but we're not currently exposing that information in the Atlas interface. We might be able to include that capability in a future version if there were sufficient interest.

This would be excellent! I for one am very excited about the maps that you guys are working on. Even the UI improvements shows that you have been listening to feedback. I think it would be unfortunate, however, to build such high-quality maps and yet have no way to ascertain the elevation of the various regions. The change in elevation across ancient Israel alone (from the Coastal Plain to the Transjordan and from Dan to Beersheba!) is one of its most distinctive characteristics. This is reflected throughout Scripture and throughout biblical history (e.g., politically, militarily, economically, literarily, etc.).

My primary frustration with the maps so far (besides some performance issues) is that some regions on the Biblical World maps require you to zoom in way too far before any indicators for cities appear. For just one example, on the "Biblical World—Early Church" map, this is a problem for several of the seven churches in province of Asia. It makes it difficult to see many cities at once even on a fairly large widescreen monitor. This makes it more difficult to relate them to one another and to other relatively nearby cities. It is even worse on my laptop screen, which is probably larger than most. That said, I assume that some of these things are a work in progress.

Keep up the good work!

Posts 468
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 1 2014 5:30 AM

Bob Pritchett:

If there's a lot of interest in customizing the maps we can re-visit that,.

That has been my interest from the beginning! Quickverse had such a program and I hung onto that atlas as long as I could because of its capabilities,. Please, Bob, revisit this and make it available in Logos. Thanks!

Charlene

Posts 539
L.A. | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 1 2014 8:13 AM

Bob Pritchett:
If there's a lot of interest in customizing the maps we can re-visit that,

Definitely interested! Yes

On step, maybe the first, might be offering a multiple language option: switching between for example english, spanish, portuguese, german, french, swedish ... without restarting Logos with a different UI. Should be possible with the background-shapefile-tables... (?) ...and wouldn't be neither a huge performance-killer nor increase the download-size. 

Elevationdata are useful too, if contrast and color isn't set too high as it is in most of the newer maps. 

Posts 782
LogosEmployee
Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 1 2014 5:12 PM

Adam Olean:

This would be excellent! I for one am very excited about the maps that you guys are working on. Even the UI improvements shows that you have been listening to feedback. I think it would be unfortunate, however, to build such high-quality maps and yet have no way to ascertain the elevation of the various regions. The change in elevation across ancient Israel alone (from the Coastal Plain to the Transjordan and from Dan to Beersheba!) is one of its most distinctive characteristics. This is reflected throughout Scripture and throughout biblical history (e.g., politically, militarily, economically, literarily, etc.).

My primary frustration with the maps so far (besides some performance issues) is that some regions on the Biblical World maps require you to zoom in way too far before any indicators for cities appear. For just one example, on the "Biblical World—Early Church" map, this is a problem for several of the seven churches in province of Asia. It makes it difficult to see many cities at once even on a fairly large widescreen monitor. This makes it more difficult to relate them to one another and to other relatively nearby cities. It is even worse on my laptop screen, which is probably larger than most. That said, I assume that some of these things are a work in progress.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks Adam. The elevation is directly reflected in the shading on the maps, as this example shows, with the steep decline down to Jericho and the area around the Jordan.

The over-eager zoom on the Biblical World maps should be improved in the 6.0a release. We also need to make some adjustments on the Early Church map specifically so some of the cities appear sooner as you zoom in.

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